Issue of June 26, 2016
Mt. Province

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Watchdogs of Democracy

With the mainstream media at the crossroads after the 2016 elections, surmising what is to be its role under the rule of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, the Baguio media community remains a force to be reckoned with at a time when credible and factual information are crucial to protect democracy in the country.

Testament to this is that Baguio papers led by your Baguio Midland Courier took center stage in Manila for raising anew the bar of excellence in journalism after being bestowed with three major awards in the 2015 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards.

The only weekly paper in Luzon with the most number of nominations, your Courier was conferred the Best Edited Paper, Best Editorial Page and Best in Business and Economic Reporting awards, to become the most decorated regional paper at the close of the 20th National Press Forum organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).

To date, this longest-running English language paper with uninterrupted publication in Southeast Asia in almost seven decades of its operation has reaped almost all major awards given by the PPI, the Rotary Club of Manila, and other reputable award-giving bodies and institutions.

The accolades the Courier gets year after year challenge us even more to remain committed in making the paper as an exponent of credible and responsible journalism. The task of providing accurate and objective information becomes even more important amid the tests of time, like the advent of social media where factual data, balance, and fairness in content are mostly overlooked and ignored by “social media journalists.”

We are not assuming to be the best in the industry, reason we share our awards with the ever-vibrant Baguio media community with special mention to the Baguio Chronicle and Sun.Star Baguio, nominated for Best in Photojournalism, with the former getting the award for the weekly category.

Outside the print world, our Baguio-based regional TV network and local radio stations have reaped national awards too, which cement the Baguio media community’s reputation as one of the most vibrant centers of information outside “imperial Manila.”

Despite differences in editorial policies, members of the Baguio media complement each other in bringing timely information to people in the highlands and other parts of the world.

The awards for the Courier have come at a time when the country’s mainstream media is treading uncertainty, albeit consistent in abiding with the tenets of journalism, following Duterte’s rants against unfair, non-objective, and derogatory media reports and his impulsive remarks of banning mainstream media from covering him and his activities.

Beyond the profanity-laced language of the President-elect against some members of the Fourth Estate, the Courier, together with other members of the Baguio media community, will remain committed to be watchdogs of the government in this northern part of the country.

The Baguio media community will play an active role in chronicling events as they unfold during the Duterte government, which the Courier has done in the past 10 administrations even at the height of Martial Law.

And even as we also embrace change in this complex society, the Courier will continue to live up to its ideals of journalism – Fair, Fearless, Friendly, and Free.



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